Oklahoma’s deer muzzleloader season opens Saturday, Oct. 28, giving most hunters the first chance this fall to harvest a deer with a firearm.
And if the weather forecast holds true, this could be a good weekend for deer hunting. A cold front with some rain is due to pass through the state Saturday, trimming high temperatures into the 50s on Sunday. It’s a good recipe to get whitetails wandering across the landscape.
Deer muzzleloader season will run for nine days, closing a half-hour after sunset Nov. 5. Hunters may harvest four deer in the season, only one of which may be antlered.
Remember that “Hunters in the Know … Take a Doe!” Continued encouragement of antlerless harvest, as a critical part of the state’s deer herd management strategy, is represented by liberal antlerless bag limits in various antlerless deer zones. Consult the 2023-24 Oklahoma Fishing and Hunting Regulations to see a map of Antlerless Deer Zones.
Also, hunters are reminded that special regulations due to chronic wasting disease are in effect for three Selective Surveillance Areas to mitigate the spread of high-risk materials. The SSAs are in Cimarron County; Texas County; and Woodward-Major-Woods counties.
According to the 2022-23 Big Game Harvest Report, available in the September/October issue of Outdoor Oklahoma magazine, an estimated 55,913 hunters went afield to practice this method of harvest. A total of 11,715 deer were taken, with 45 percent of those being antlerless.
Sometimes called "primitive firearms," the modern muzzleloaders of today are far from primitive. But there are still plenty of outdoors enthusiasts who enjoy using a traditional flintlock rifle loaded with black powder and a lead ball.
Other hunting seasons that are open during all or a portion of deer muzzleloader season are bear muzzleloader season, Oct. 28-Nov. 5; private lands elk muzzleloader season, Oct. 28-Nov. 5; fall turkey archery season, Oct. 1-Jan. 15; fall turkey gun season, Nov. 4-17; squirrel season, May 15-Feb. 28; rabbit season, Oct. 1-March 15; dove season, Sept. 1-Oct. 31; sandhill crane season, Oct. 21-Jan. 21; Panhandle waterfowl season, Oct. 7-Jan. 3; Zones 1-2 waterfowl day for youth, vets and military, Nov. 4; light, dark and white-fronted geese season, Nov. 4-26.
All hunters must wear the required amount of hunter orange clothing when in the field during any open big game firearms season. Those and all other regulations such as license requirements, hunting hours, bag limits, field tagging and online E-Check rules are detailed in the Oklahoma Fishing and Hunting Regulations online at wildlifedepartment.com, in the free Go Outdoors Oklahoma mobile app for Apple and Android, or in print at license dealers statewide.